Today, the British Border Collie is recognised worldwide as one of the most intelligent, hard-working, agile and loyal dog breeds and are popular as both pets and working dogs on farms across the globe.
The Border CollieThey have speed, endurance, and an innate herding instinct allied to their stealthy gait and carriage, making them physically very well suited to this role. Take this, along with a natural intelligence and willingness to please, which makes them easy to train, and you have the quintessential farmer’s dog.
No longer confined to farmland, their intelligence, speed, and versatility have brought the Border Collie success in many canine activities such as obedience, agility and as a sniffer dog for detecting explosives and drugs.
Border Collies also make very friendly family pets, although they do need a lot of exercise and stimulation, so they are best suited to those with an active lifestyle that is not away from their pets for too long.
History of the Border Collie Breed
It is believed that the modern Border Collie descended from dogs used by the Vikings to herd reindeer. When this dog breed arrived in Scotland, they were most likely crossed with the Valee Sheepdog.
Where do Border Collies Come From?
The name derives from the border regions of England and Scotland where he originally showed their worth, working sheep in the hills and mountains. They quickly spread to other farming communities across the country and into Ireland where they have become a staple of pastoral life.
Due to their usefulness in farming livestock, they were taken over to Australia and New Zealand by many settlers. They have remained popular both as pets and with their huge farming and livestock communities.
Owning a Border Collie
In relatively recent times the breed has become highly popular in the show ring. The natural activity and intelligence of the Border Collie mean that they need to be engaged mentally to lead a fulfilled life.
When are Border Collies Fully Grown
Border Collies usually reach their full height at around 12 months old. This is typically between 18-22 inches at the shoulder.
A few months later they will fill out and reach their full grown weight. A Border Collie will stop growing by 18 months old, although they may reach their full grown weight a few months earlier than this.
How much exercise do Border Collies need?
Owners of a Border Collie must be able to provide plenty of exercise and activity. Like many breeds of working dogs, Border Collies are highly energetic and require plenty of mental stimulation.
As a result, they can have a tendency towards neurotic or destructive behavior if not given enough mental or physical ‘work’ to do. These are not dogs you can keep cooped up in an apartment for long periods.
So if you are thinking of getting a Border Collie as a pet, be prepared for lots of walks to keep them happy. The Kennel Club recommends at least 2 hours of exercise daily, so if you have a large garden or easy access to good walks, all the better!
To keep your Border Collie stimulated, you should incorporate lots of activities for them too – agility training, hide and seek etc. This will keep them both physically and mentally stimulated.
Is a Border Collie Hypoallergenic?
The short answer is no! They do shed and have a double coat, which means they can have quite a lot of fur to shed.
This also means they can require quite a lot of grooming too
When do Border Collies Shed?
Collies shed all year, but typically Autumn and especially Spring is when the worst shedding occurs.
Collies will shed their coat in spring to prepare for the summer months, and grow a thicker coat in autumn to prepare for winter.
Your Collie loses all that thick winter coat over the course of 8 weeks in Spring, so prepare to spend a lot of time vacuuming then!
If your dog spends most of its time indoors, it will naturally shed less during spring and fall, and more evenly over the year.
Though known to be reserved with strangers, they are protective of a human family member and affectionate to those they know.
As mentioned above, they can be a little neurotic and prone to barking if not stimulated, but their energy and sense of fun making them great playmates for active families. I spent many hours playing football with my neighbour’s Border Collie as a kid…frustratingly, they were far better than I was!
In general, Border Collies are medium-sized dogs with no extreme physical characteristics and a moderate to large amount of fur and a double coat.
Historically Border Collies have been bred for their working ability rather than looks, so this is a dog breed that varies more widely in its appearance than other pure breeds.
Their double coats vary anywhere from fine to lush, and although black and white are by far the most common, they are seen in many colours. You will often see black, tricolour (black/tan/white) and red and white, and colours such as blue and white, red merle, blue merle, “Australian red,” and sable are seen less frequently.
- Breed Group: Pastoral
- Height: male: 48-53 cm, female: 46-51 cm
- Color(s): Black, black/tan/white, red & white, blue & white, red merle
- Size: medium
- Lifespan: 10-14 years
- Exercise: very high
- Grooming: medium
- Trainability: very high
- Watchdog ability: high
- Protection ability: medium
- Area of Origin: border of Scotland and England
- Date of Origin: 1800’s
- Other Names: none
- Original Function: sheep herding
The Kennel club standards are specific on many points of the structure, coat, and colour. For this reason, Border Collies bred for the conformation ring conform to the standard appearance far more than working dogs.
The Kennel club specifies, for example, that the breed must have a “keen and intelligent” expression, and that the preferred eye colour is dark brown.
Some leeway is given to the breed’s working origin, and scars and broken teeth received in the line of duty are not to be counted against this breed in the show ring.
Border Collies are incredibly intelligent, hard working and energetic dogs. For owners with an active lifestyle that can give them the time they need, they make wonderful pets.
They are very happy within a family, playing with children (and usually wearing them out too!) and make good guard dogs.
However they are not good for people living in smaller houses or those that cannot be around their dog and give them plenty of exercise and stimulation.
- 1 History of the Border Collie Breed
- 2 Owning a Border Collie
- 3 Is a Border Collie Hypoallergenic?
- 4 Temprament
- 5 Physical Characteristics
- 6 Breed Standard
- 7 Summary